Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 17 Aug 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.
In the belly
Broccoli is considered a superfood and is best known as a cancer fighter. It is packed with calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A and C. It is said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help in detoxification. It is also rich in chromium, which may help prevent adult-onset diabetes.
The Romans grew and enjoyed broccoli during the first century CE, having gotten it from the Etruscans. The name comes from the Latin “bracchium,” which means “strong arm or branch.” It was an obscure vegetable in the U.S. until the 20th century, but has been gaining in popularity, especially over the last thirty years or so.
The leaves and stalks are edible, but the leaves are rather bitter. The stalks have a tough skin and should be peeled before cooking. If you don’t much like broccoli but want to eat it for its wonderful health effects, try peeling, slicing, and cooking just the stalks — some people who are put off by the texture of the flowerheads find the milder, firmer stems much more enjoyable.
In the kitchen
I know I just did zucchini recipes a couple of weeks ago, but there are so many other kinds of summer squash, I think I can find a few more recipes. I like the little round patty-pan squash, because they look like bright yellow flying saucers, but these recipes mostly assume you’ve got the sausage-shaped kind.
Grilled whole summer squash
1.5-2 lb. small summer squash (about 4), washed and patted dry
4 T olive oil
chopped fresh parsley, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat grill with all burners on high, 10-15 min. Trim the tops and bottoms of the sqash and rub them with oil. Turn one burner off and the other(s) to medium. Place squash over the burner that is off, close the lid, and cook until easily pierced with a sharp knife, 12-20 min., turning as needed. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Toss sliced with parsley and seasonings.
From: The gas grill gourmet : great grilled food for everyday meals and fantastic feasts / A. Cort Sinnes with John Puscheck. Harvard Common Press, c1996.
Wagon Wheels with Summer Squash and Mint
16 oz wagon-wheel or bow-tie pasta, cooked
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 lb. (about 6) mixed summer squash, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
Heat butter and olive oil over high heat. Add squash slices, garlic, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup chopped mint; cook until vegetables are just tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add chicken broth and Parmesan cheese; bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Toss together vegetable mixture, pasta and remaining chopped mint.
Summer Squash and Carrot Ribbons
1.25 lb. zucchini and summer squash
1/2 lb. carrots, peeled
24 large basil leaves, slivered
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp anise seed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Trim ends of zucchini and squash. Using a vegetable peeler, shave each squash into long, wide, very thin strips, avoiding the center of the squash where the seeds are. Shave the carrots in the same fashion. Toss zucchini, squash, and carrot ribbons with basil. Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, anise seeds, salt, and pepper together and drizzle over vegetable ribbons; toss.